On the first Friday of December for over 20 years now, the Stateline-area community has to come together to help local families in need during the holiday season.

You donate toys for local children who wouldn't have a Christmas without your generosity, we listen to local choirs entertain us with our favorite Christmas carols, and we gather to celebrate and remember what Christmas spirit is all about.

The 12 Hours of Salvation Army Toy Drive is absolutely one of my favorite days of the year, but because of 2020, we won't be able to celebrate together at the Lou Bachrodt Automall quite like we're used to. The pandemic may put a damper on our holiday spirit, but the reality is, this will likely be a record year for the amount of families and children we need to help. Because of that, Q98.5, along with the Salvation Army of Winnebago County, 13 WREX, and the Lou Bachrodt Automall, are making the plea for toy donations even earlier this year.

The 24th Annual 12 Hours of Salvation Army Toy Drive will be held at Lou Bachrodt Automall on Friday, December 4, 2020 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The public is still invited to come and witness the pile of toys grow under Lou Bachrodt's huge showroom tree, that's not changing, but you will need to wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines while you're there.

What is changing this year is when toy donations will begin to be accepted, and how they will be accepted. You can begin shopping now in stores and online, and drop off your toy donations anytime at the Lou Bachrodt Automall by the CherryVale Mall between now and December 4th. You can even shop online and have them delivered straight to Lou Bachrodt Automall if you'd rather!

More details about the Toy Drive will be coming soon, but please understand we REALLY need your help this year. The Salvation Army of Winnebago County, on average, helps about 3,000 families every holiday season, and as of right now they have about 16,000 families relying on them for help thanks to the pandemic.

So many people and families are hurting right now, and we all need to do our best to let them know they are not alone if we are able to. Please.

If you would like to make a monetary donation now to the Salvation Army of Winnebago County, you can do so now, here. Thank you.

Catch Lil Zim on ‘Q98.5 Mornings with Lil Zim & JB’ on Q98.5 from 6:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook

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